Excision (2012) Poster

(2012)

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6/10
A Believable Portrayal of a Disturbed Teenager
fureetutawk12 February 2013
Not a typical horror or gore movie. Instead, this is a great pleading for why it is necessary to pay attention to your children, instead of ignoring the unpleasant things because they don't suit you. It's not one I would watch again, but it was definitely worth one trip into the minds of this family, the very kind of family we read about after some tragedy, and notice everyone says "They were such a good family. They seemed like such sweet children. Well, the older one was a little odd, but isn't any awkward girl just a little odd?"

This line is added to convince IMDb's review writing parameters that I have typed enough about this movie to satisfy everyone, including the fact that I was not privileged to see this at any kind of festival and have no obsession with following any particular directors, actors or producers outside of common knowledge.
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Deliciously Macabre
ozraw13 June 2012
This film played as part of the 2012 Sydney Film Festival's "Freak Me Out" section. Director, Richard Bates Jr, set out to make a movie that he and his friends would have loved to watch in high school. This he's achieved and so much more.

From the outset, Excision seizes your attention, with its deliciously macabre imagery and malevolent audio track. Unfolding amidst the perfect banality of middle class suburbia, the stage is set for a savage assault on your sensibilities.

Annalynne McCord is fantastic as Pauline - the slouched, ragged, blemished, sociopathic, vexed atheist, sangrephile*, virgin with surgical aspirations and necrophilic fantasies.

In fairness, the entire cast is impressive. You need to keep in mind that this film is the debut feature for a 25 y/o and he claims that persistence worked a charm in signing the talent -- including an Academy Award Winner!

But it's the fantasy sequences that will leave you truly in awe of Excision. Pauline's dreams are tantalisingly lurid, so utterly vile -- yet shot so beautifully. Luminous and vibrant, these scenes impact and leave a stain that won't come out in a cold wash. In fact, at least one person passed out at the screening I attended -- for real.

Far from wallowing in this depravity, Excision succeeds in exploring complex relationships, themes of religious zealotry and how problematic being a self-taught expert can be. All this and a killer soundtrack to boot.

I have to add that I had the extraordinary privilege of enjoying the greatest Q&A session in Sydney Film Festival history! Richard Bates was "slightly intoxicated" and proceeded to share some outrageous stories with us all. It caused a slight scandal, but, given the content of the film we all came to watch, his conduct was completely acceptable. Moreover, it was rare to see a person be so genuine and hysterically funny.

With his next project in the works, Richard Bates Jr just might be a name to keep an eye out for. I mean, if Peter Jackson can start with Bad Taste...I'm just sayin'... ;)

More importantly, for those of you with a taste for twisted film making - Excision is a must see.

*sangrephile - I made this up because I couldn't find a word for someone who loves blood & isn't a vampire!
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8/10
Masterful
dfranzen7011 October 2012
In Excision, a high school misfit goes to great lengths to win over her domineering, conservative mother. Although it's presented as a horror film - and opened the Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival - it's a psychosexual thriller, rife with imagery set against a pastiche of normative teenage angst and desperation. It is a brilliant, provocative, unsettling film.

Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord) is the misfit. Scarred with acne and and overall unkempt look and poor posture, she is the poster child for unpopularity. But, like many cinematic rebels before her, she looks upon the idea of being liked almost with disdain. The opinions of others don't influence her.

Pauline aspires to be a doctor, but she is anything but a model student. She challenges her teachers and plays her classmates against each other for her own gain. She has no friends, and her therapy consists of visits to the local priest, whereupon she notes the hypocrisy of his understanding her moral issues when he's by definition pretty repressed himself.

She's part of a nuclear family. Dad Bob (Roger Bart) is a success at something, but he's under the thumb of his controlling wife Phyllis (Traci Lords). Sister Grace is the favorite of the family, partly because she's so nice and good and sweet but also because she is suffering from cystic fibrosis.

Of all the people with whom Pauline interacts on a regular basis, she cares only for Grace. She despairs of her sister's imminent death and wishes the same on her mother. Typical for a teenager, to an extreme perhaps.

Throughout the movie, Pauline sets particular goals for herself and then completes them, in opposition to her attitude toward school and life in general. When her mother forces her to be (at an advanced age) part of a cotillion, Pauline understandably ruins the affair. But when she wants to pursue a career in medicine, she goes to the library (cutting school) and researches her sister's condition.

You may well ask what the title implies. Something is being excised. We've already established that Pauline wants to be a doctor, but what is to be excised is something I cannot reveal here. On a less literal front, Pauline wants to excise her mother's influence from her own life and the pain and suffering from that of her sister.

This is not a movie for the faint of heart. It is not dripping with blood and contains no projectile vomiting, but Pauline's dreams - which include impromptu surgeries that equate to intercourse in her mind - are erotic, disturbing, grisly, and symbolic.

McCord nails the role of Pauline. Dolled up for the cotillion, she looks almost presentable, but even when she's her slovenly self you can see her beauty - eyes, wit, intelligence, smile - even if no one else in the movie can. McCord sells the film by subtly morphing Pauline from an outcast to a sociopath; at first, you take her for just another weird kid in the hall, but over time you see her as clearly losing her grip on reality.

And I didn't think I'd say this, but Lords is really good - in an ironic role - as the pushy, moralizing mom. Traci, you've come a long way, baby.

It's very hard to believe this is writer/director Richard Bates Jr.'s first film, feature or otherwise. The writing is tight, and he gets a lot out of his cast - which includes John Waters and Malcolm McDowell. It's a stunning debut.

I wasn't sure how the movie was going to end, although it was clear I was being led in a particular direction. I wasn't misled, but the conclusion is still a knockout; leaving just enough unresolved to be satisfying.

Excision is thrilling, a movie that will resonate with anyone who's felt unloved and with anyone who likes tales of revenge and redemption. It wisely picks a course and never goes too over the top with its set pieces. It's not a mild-mannered film, but it's also not an overwrought, ham-fisted gorefest. It's cleverly nuanced, achingly acted, and a mind- blowing masterpiece.
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8/10
Twisted Fun!
hagerty733 October 2012
What a deserved change from the same old recycled junk out there. Now Im no professional movie critic, and I wouldn't even know what category Id place this movie, but to me it wasn't a horror. Whatever the genre is, Id like to see more like it. McCord did an excellent job and I hope she stays out of the mainstream roles. The cast delivered in a big way and sucked me in to the story. For some reason McCords character makes me think of Napolean Dynamite, but a sick, twisted and female version. I don't want to say much, you can form your own opinion. But it is a solid movie with good acting, great visual dream segments and a decent plot. So check it out if you want to see something weird and different and get some really good laughs along the way.
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8/10
Surprisingly Good
richard-gobin9 October 2012
First I thought this movie would be purely splatter and gore but it turned out to be quite good yet tragic film. AnnaLynne McCord and Traci Lords gave strong performances that really carried the movie, particularly Lords who successfully left the Adult Industry and became a credible actress. I mentioned it was tragic as I really felt for the family struggling with a delusional elder daughter and a dying younger one. Kudos to the makeup artist(s) who worked on McCord making her character (Pauline) look like a really out-of-sorts teenager. There were scenes (in the Unrated version) where a lot of blood was involved coupled with some perverted scenes, but it worked in looking inside the mind of Pauline.
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7/10
An suburbia nightmare
mdnobles1920 January 2013
Excision is an artistically blood-soaked film that will have you squirm in your seat one moment and laugh in the next, thanks to its cleverly dark humor. I've never really seen a film quite like this as it's in its own league of twisted shenanigans. The most unique character study of 2012.

AnnaLynne McCord completely disappears into her character and gives an insanely off the wall, brilliant performance that will leave you bug-eyed. She plays Pauline, a disturbed 18-year-old high school student that has a strange fetish for blood. She desperately wants a career in the medical field and goes to the extreme to practice it, as she tries to get approval from her mother. Traci Lords also impressed me as the over controlling mom Phyllis, who tries hard to get through to her unbalanced daughter to no avail. She has a lot of layers to her character as she can be ruthless in one scene and caring in the next, I really felt sorry for her in the end. The rest of the cast was pretty impressive and you might recognize Ariel Winter from Modern Family who plays the younger sister Grace, who is ill with Cystic Fibrosis. The dad, Roger Bart plays Bob, he plays a helpless role of a guy stuck in the middle of the chaos. There are also appearances from John Waters, Malcolm McDowell and Marlee Matlin, which was entertaining to see them in the film.

Director, Richard Bates Jr. makes an explosive début as newcomer of this genre and has a bold eye that's unflinching. The disturbing style, nature mixed with the dark humor, yet at the same time visceral, is just bloody brilliant. He is one to look out for, as this is an insane first effort! Overall, Excision is not a movie for all tastes, but the bluntness, wit, dark humor, unapologetic attitude and blood drenched, stylishly brooding dreamscapes, made it refreshing and daring. The ending was shocking, but I was kind of unsure what to make of it. One of the more memorable horror offerings of 2012.
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9/10
Bloody fine comedy
horizon20089 April 2013
I loved every minute of this blacker than black, bloody, comedy, horror, weirdfest. I'm sure some will be shocked by certain scenes in the movie but they exist in an almost familyguy-esque fun cutaway way where there's little gross out value (well not for me anyway) but......try describing to someone some of the scenes included and see their reaction! On paper they sound quite shocking indeed (I'm not going to spoil them you'll have to see for yourself). Traci Lords (a bit of a strange childhood herself) plays Paulines mother really well as she creeps around uttering whatever thoughts pop into her (spotty) head. Her dreams (day and night) are filled with gallons of blood and bizarreness hard to imagine. I look forward now to recommending this rancidly funny little gem to those of my friends who watch pathetic romcoms or flicks with Adam Sandler in. Something much more strange to me than anything this movie threw up.
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8/10
The biggest surprise this year thus far
vriesspeech6 February 2013
Take one part teen drama, add some horror, mix it up with a sniff of darker-than-black comedy and stir well. Serve warm with bloody guts on the side and you have Excision. I know that describing it that simplistic is a large detriment to this movie, because it is the biggest surprise in the horror genre this year thus far.

Excision stars AnnaLynne McCord, who some may know from the teen drama series 90210. I know, I was wary too when I found that out, but this movie proved to me that this girl has some serious acting chops. She plays the part of Pauline, a deranged teenager who is dreaming of becoming a surgeon, but is also dangerously socially awkward. Her demented nature combined with a fascination for blood and flesh is a blend that comes to a shocking climax that had me feeling physically ill. It has been a while since a horror movie did that. Pauline might be the most interesting character within the genre in years and has the potential to become the cult-equal to Carrie.

Pauline struggles with her identity at school, saying she is an outcast is the understatement of the year. Her appearance is as frightening as it is endearing. She has a bony frame, walks hunched over, with dark circles around her eyes and an acne-scarred face. McCord really sells the character. Her way of speaking and weird mannerisms further strengthen her personality. At the same time she is desperately trying to help her sick daughter, who is suffering from cystic fibrosis. At home she is dealing with an hyper-Christian mother, played by Traci Lords, and a sorry excuse for a father who seems to be the manifestation of apathy. I couldn't help to feel sorry for her, while also realising that she is a ticking time bomb of carnage, waiting to go off. This contrast is what really sells the character.

Pauline's reality is often interrupted by daydreaming scenes that give a whole new meaning to the word 'disturbed.' During these short flashes, Pauline reigns supreme as the queen of her carnal fantasies in which she indulges in bloody escapades in gory detail. These scenes go far. I wanted to turn my head away at some points (especially during a scene involving a stillborn foetus), but I couldn't stop watching. Bates' unrelenting style of directing had me hooked all the way through.

The movie ends with a shocker of a scene that rounds this movie off perfectly. After watching it I felt numb for a while, while it slowly dawned on me that I had watched something special, in ail its gruesome glory. McCord carries the film home, aided by strong co-acting by Lords. Not all the characters are as fleshed out as these two, but that hardly impacts the overall tone of the movie. This comes highly recommended for anyone who is looking for a spark of originality in a genre that often seems to break under its own clichés.
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8/10
not for the faint hearted
lil_dude66664 October 2012
Overall i thought this film was superb! The acting was outstanding by AnnaLynne Mccord and Traci Lords who made the film well worth a watch. If you like your strange/obscene movies this is one definitely to watch. There are bound to be some negative reviews of this movie but trust me when i say this take no notice. If there is one criticism it would have to be the ending of the movie but i wont go into detail as don't want to spoil it for potential viewers. The director of the movie has made a fantastic movie especially for his debut and this will hopefully not be his only movie, i cant wait for the next movie of his! Overall strange, weird, exciting movie so give it a watch.
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7/10
McCord is fantastic.
Hey_Sweden5 June 2013
"Excision" is a consistently interesting concoction from the mind of writer / director Richard Bates Jr. Combining straight drama, horror, and very dark comedy, it's twisted to its core, with a very memorable character driving the plot forward.

That character is Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord, in an utterly fearless performance), a strange and off putting teenage girl living with a sister (Ariel Winter) who has cystic fibrosis, a reserved father (Roger Bart), and a demanding mother (long ago porn queen Traci Lords, who finally gets a chance to show some real acting chops) whose love Pauline desperately tries to win, while deluding herself into thinking she could have a career in surgery.

Some of the cast members (Malcolm McDowell, Ray Wise, Matthew Gray Gubler, John Waters (as a reverend!) and especially Oscar winner Marlee Matlin) have what amount to little more than cameo roles, but it's still nice to see all of these familiar faces. Anyway, McCord and Lords do a fine job of carrying the movie, and their scenes are uncomfortable as they're clearly meant to be yet undeniably compelling.

Bates sets his story in a typically placid looking suburbia which serves as an appropriate contrast to the bizarre psycho sexual elements of his plot. He serves up plenty of grotesque, bloody imagery for the horror crowd yet films it all in such a slick way that it's oddly beautiful. He takes full advantage of the 2.35:1 aspect ratio in which the movie is shot, considering the way he arranges actors and objects within the frame.

Adventuresome cult movie lovers tired of the soulless quality of bigger budgeted studio based productions should appreciate the daring with which Bates approaches this material. Once it's all over it's the kind of thing you *don't* easily forget; the ending is not that surprising but it's pretty devastating just the same.

Seven out of 10.
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4/10
Disappointg Horror Flick, Semi-decent Comedy
deth_before_dishonor7 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
So, this movie is awkward and clunky. Pauline's dream sequences aren't that scary, in fact, they are sort of hilarious. Half of the movie feels like a teen movie about an awkward, weird girl, the other half is a comedy. The best scenes are the scenes with jokes and witty lines in them. The only scene that could be considered a bloody or gruesome part of the whole movie happens in the last ten minutes of the film, and even that is only a surgery scene (Pauline has aspirations of becoming a surgeon). Not once did I find myself scared, shocked, grossed out, or covering my eyes because of what was on the screen. I will commend the director (Richard Bates Jr.), and the casting director (Carmen Aiello) for assembling one of the most solid and talented casts in recent low budget horror movie history, although I will say John Waters as William the priest is pretty friggin' hilarious. If you watch this movie as a comedy and not as a horror film, you will be let down a lot less. There are some laugh out loud moments for sure. If you're looking for any scares, though, I suggest you look elsewhere.
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1/10
What a waste of 90 min!
livatnight-501-58569813 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This attempt at a shock and awe film is very disappointing. Character development is feeble, plot and writing is weak at best and the only thing that holds this film together is the actors who I can't believe agreed to do this film. I can picture the table read where they have to convince AnnaLynne McCord to sniff her bloody tampon and have an aborted fetus put in an oven. I give credit to the editor and cinematographer as I feel they did their job well. Richard Bates will not be on the watch list in the future if his vision is this shallow and unimaginative. Sundance won't be in your future again soon. I don't know how this got accepted in the 1st place...but I have seen a lot of other garbage there too. Just because you found some investors does not mean you have a good film. Don't read your friends reviews and think you have a winner on your hands.
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The nightmarish surrealism which is achieved will resonate for days afterwards.
cjmccracken1 December 2012
A paradoxical myriad of influences and styles runs through Excision, the feature debut from NYU graduate Richard Bates Jr. A development of his 18 minute short which played the festival circuit in 2008, the film charts a brief spell in the life of Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord), one of the most dysfunctional teenagers to hit the screen since Todd Solondz's Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995). Far less fetishized than Terry Zwigoff's teenage female outcasts, Pauline is the epitome of awkward. Her gait eschews any form of grace, leaving her a hunched over, lumbering mess. Even keeping her mouth closed appears, at times, to be too much effort. In short, she's the perfect representation of the unfathomable levels of apathy and brooding that exist within the mind of the troubled teen.

McCord, better known to television viewers as the star of shows such as Nip/Tuck and 90210, is almost unrecognisable as the scowling girl with greasy hair and bad skin. It was not, however, an easy part for her to attain. In a recent interview both Bates Jr. and McCord stated that it was a difficult process. From the offset, the director refused to entertain McCord's persistent applications to be associated with the feature. Luckily for us her tenacity paid off and she was granted an audition. Bates' scepticism continued until the young actress showed her commitment to the feature by responding to the statement that she would have to cut her hair for the role by hacking at her locks right there and then. Seeing more of Pauline in the glamorous actress than he could ever have imagined, the partnership was made and the process began.

One of the aforementioned paradoxes within the film is the drafting in of a delightful range of the Hollywood bad boys (and girls); Traci Lords, John Walters, Malcolm McDowell and Ray Wise all appear. All of these characters could have been utilised as the outsiders and freaks of the movie with whom Pauline connects and finds solace, yet in a clever play against type, it is this motley crew who comprise the upstanding, conservative and unprogressive adults in the movie. Lords plays Pauline's God-fearing mother Phyllis with her trademark vigour and wit, clearly loving the experience of taking the moral high ground over the rebellious youth. Waters plays a chaplain and Wise and McDowell both work at the school as headmaster and teacher respectively.

Pauline aspires to one day become a successful surgeon, something which is greatly hindered by her lack of academic capability. Experimenting on roadkill and dreamily pondering over medical textbooks culminates in bizarre fantasies which range from brutal eviscerations to necrophilia.

All of this is heavily coincides with the social dilemmas which she faces on a daily basis (ranging from puberty to friends and relationships). Modern Family's Ariel Winter plays Grace, Pauline's younger sister, who is suffering from Cystic Fibrosis. The strain which her illness puts upon the family often trivialises the nature of Pauline's growing pains. This parallel makes for one of the most interesting aspects of the movie, alluding to the insular and self- absorbed nature of the teen mind.

There is a great deal of dark humour on display in Excision. Humour as pitch black as coal and as sharp as surgical steel. The nightmarish surrealism which is achieved will resonate for days afterwards. A well written and enjoyable debut which manages to balance a sinister side with a tender character study, resulting in an exceptionally strong feature, Excision is well deserving of the praise which it is currently receiving.

Excision is available now through Monster Pictures UK. You can find out more about the movie on the Official Website, Twitter or Facebook.

Colin McCracken writes extensively for zombiehamster.com as well as a number of genre publications. He can be found on Twitter as @zombiehamster
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10/10
Insane Perfection!
MisterE21083 October 2012
A crash mix of surreal and extreme, with large heaps of insane snappy wit thrown in for spice. I loved this film from start to finish and who knew the stunningly gorgeous AnnaLynne McCord had it in her to pull off such an extreme character? I read where some viewers said her character was annoying and mainstream?...really? I don't think no young actress of today's generation could have pulled off this role with such conviction and devotion. Not only was Ms McCord's performance outstanding, all actors in this film pull their own weight and more. Traci Lords blew me away (no pun intended) with her performance. I watched Traci show in this film why she has always been serious about being accepted as a real full fledged mainstream actress. This is definitely not a lighthearted film, it's more like a darkhearted film that sets up to prove, life ain't what it's all made out to be. Some viewers also state that the film wants to be serious at times then throws in these absurd moments?! Me?...I don't think the film makers intended this to be serious at all, meaning...if it was meant to be such a way, then it could have easily been made to be a straight up demented horror film. I'll even go so far to call this a lighthearted 'American Psycho', but with more color, wit, kicks and punches. Anyway, I loved this film and fell in love with Ms McCord's performance. If you see this film, see it based on your desire to view a cool film.
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9/10
Bizarre, disturbing, and a MUST watch...
paul_haakonsen6 August 2013
"Excision" is like a bolt of lightning from a clear blue sky. I hadn't seen this coming, not by a long shot. I hadn't expected this movie to turn out as disturbing and yet so profound at the same time.

This movie is close to being a one of the better movies I have seen in a long, long time. Especially because the movie slowly creeps in under your skin and just burrows deeper and deeper, festering like a cancerous wound. And that is just what makes the movie so interesting, because it is disturbing on so many levels.

What made the movie tick was the performance put on by AnnaLynne McCord who played Pauline, the young delusional woman with the issues and craving her mothers acceptance. She really put on a top notch performance here, because you really bought into the psychosis of the character and that her mental problems were real. Plus the make-up on her was also right on the money, because they made her seem like she really was close to death - and it matched her bizarre obsession with death and necrophilia very well.

And while we are on the topic of characters, then the Pauline character was really fleshed out so well, and the performance by AnnaLynne McCord was really helping to chisel out the aspects of the Pauline character. And there were so many times throughout the movie that you just wanted to reach out and slap her to make her come out of her delusions and psychosis. As I said, this movie will get under your skin and stick with you like a sore boil.

A word of warning though, there are some really, really vivid images throughout the movie, images that may be disturbing and shocking to some people in the audience. So I would definitely advice for viewer discretion here, as the imagery might not be suitable for just everyone. And also some of the topics that the movie deals with a heavy, socially taboo and things people don't talk about. As such, the movie deals a heavy blow that sits right in the gut, and it works so well.

I am not going to go into details about the storyline, because "Excision" is a movie that needs to be watched and experienced, not read about. If you haven't already seen the movie, I suggest you do so, but as I said above, be warned, the movie might sicken you or offend you in some way.

As bizarre and disturbing as "Excission" is, then I am giving this a clear and definitive 9 out of 10 rating. The movie was an odd surprise and really blew me away. I can highly recommend this movie.
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1/10
Dysfunctional Movie.
sanesurfer8 October 2012
I have to say this movie left me feeling empty. I have seen many movies similar to this over the years, I hope I don't subject myself to another one. The acting is good, that is the only good thing about this movie. The plot is riddled with a predictable story line. The dream sequences are nothing new, so don't have anything artistic to add. The director slams the viewer in the face with over indulgent sexual imagery. It tries too hard to be an intelligent movie and in my opinion fails. I am unsure what audience this is aimed at. I sincerely hope the director matures for his next project, I won't be in a hurry to follow him. A movie that tries too hard to impress generally fails and this movie fits that perfectly. All in all a waste of time and effort.
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3/10
A terrible 'look at me acting' performance
TheMarwood21 June 2014
Excision feels like a threadbare short film padded out to feature length and low and behold it's an expanded version of the director's short. It's an annoyingly angsty film about a social misfit who wants to be a surgeon and the whole film is just filler until the final scene. Perhaps that would be fine in the short film, but this is unbearable. We are also subjected to an atrocious performance by AnnaLynne McCord who seems to be juggling tics, facial expressions and acting with a capital 'A'. A terrible 'look at me acting' performance, made even more cartoonish from her over the top zit makeup. This is the kind of character that needs a strong director to modulate the performance and reign it in to be effective. The film is fine to look at. It's shot in a very classy way -- slow, well composed moves -- which makes McCord's performance at even more right angles to the film. Everyone downplays their role and the look of the film is very grounded and then here's this ridiculous actress who couldn't have played her role any more broad. It tries to be edgy and artful - it really does try, but Excision is immature junk.
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10/10
Excellent!
sepial13 October 2012
Categories can be helpless and misleading. And while there are horror elements, this film is mainly drama, often comedy, to a bitter end. A no holds barred indie of the best, build from brilliant performances by leads and even the smallest supporting roll (and including wonderful moments with John Waters, Ray Wise & Malcolm McDowell), a smart script and the flourishing imagination of the writer/director. Performance-wise the film is carried by leads AnnaLynne McCord and Traci Lords, both being mesmerizing. And while the first impression might be that of a cliché over-the-top mother/outsider daughter relationship, with the plot progressing we see the thing being a lot more loaded, complex and convincing. McCord is a real discovery for me. Her character, intentionally or not, feels quite like an extension of Emily Perkins' Bridget in Ginger Snaps, but without copying it. And again, any thought of this being a bit too much of outsider image is soon removed by amassing subtleties in McCord's performance; there is a clear idea behind the conception of Pauline. So while there are familiar themes they're building matter, things to be shown and said are shown and said directly (and technically flawless) and the ending, up to the last frame, should really get to you. More from Mr. Bates, please, more of such opportunities for Mrs. Lords, and please, more of McCord.
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4/10
Shallow, pseudo-controversial mainstream flick
5h4d0w4 September 2012
When watching the very first scene of this movie, you may possibly feel a sense of curiosity while being confused and disgusted at the same time. It may be wise to leave the theater at this point and just keep those disturbing images in one's mind. Because the rest destroys any hope created by that first scene that "Excision" could tackle severe issues in an unflinching manner.

Instead, you are confronted with an incredibly arrogant, unlikeable main character that is completely lacking self-awareness (not that any of the other frequently bigger than life characters would be much easier to identify with). Also with lots of humor that makes most supposedly violent images appear so harmless that they lose all significance and serve simply as sensationalist filler. The fact that most of the blood used is so thick that it looks like syrup (and is occasionally overly bright) doesn't help.

Admittedly, I enjoyed chuckling at many of the scenes. However, when they are continuously interrupted by other scenes that are supposed to be serious and where you should suddenly empathize with some character (usually with that horrible Pauline), it ruins the atmosphere of both the comedy and the drama. Something similar actually goes for Pauline herself. Either you have a one-dimensional psychopath or somebody people can identify with at least to some degree. You can't have it both ways. And "Excision" certainly doesn't make the attempt to choose yet a third way and provide a complex and at least somewhat authentic portrait of a deeply disturbed person like e.g. "I Stand Alone", "American Psycho", "Mad Detective", "May" or "Nekromantik" do. Obviously, these examples vary a lot regarding said complexity and authenticity but in my view, every single one of them does a much better job than "Excision".

I also did not appreciate the fact that basic manners and decency are lumped into one category with the incredible uptightness of Pauline's mother. But at least, I was provided with a further insight into the dark side of American culture: cotillion classes.

Overall, I think the general tone of the movie and the way it is constructed makes it clear that this is not the directorial debut of somebody who wanted to do something radically different and possibly even profound but somebody who wanted to use controversy merely as a marketing gimmick for mainstream audiences. Which means that it can only be controversial to people who were already deeply disturbed by movies such as "The Blairwitch Project" or "Identity" and whose heads would probably explode were they to see the likes of "Antichrist", "Oldboy" or even "L'Age d'Or". It is really a shame because there would have been so much potential here. "Excision" could have been so dark, disturbing, unusual and critical...
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2/10
Don't bother
qwerty7978918 April 2017
First off, this is not a horror movie by any reasonable definition of the genre. It's clearly heavily inspired by Ginger Snaps but is a far inferior movie. The lead character repeatedly doing random gross things just to try to shock the audience is juvenile. Even ignoring the little disgusting things she does, I can't remember another movie with a more unlikable lead character than this one. Just an awful human being to everyone around her. Yet somehow it's clear the director expects us to sympathize with her. As much of a ridiculous caricature as Tracy Lords' character is, she comes off as much more sympathetic despite the director's intentions. Same thing in her scenes with John Waters, who is one of a number of silly cameos. Hey, it's John Waters playing a priest, how ironic! Look, Malcolm McDowell! That's Ray Wise! It's that guy from Criminal Minds! They just draw attention to themselves and take you out of the movie. Repeated overly long dream sequences also get old quickly. For some reason I kept watching this all the way to the end, which turned out to be another ridiculous attempt to shock the audience, but it had no impact, because I didn't care by that point.
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8/10
Brilliantly disturbing, wonderful twists and turns. One of the better "catch me if you can" type movies.
ferloinvinnie9 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
"Catch me if you can" type movies...ya know, like it has a lot of twists and turns?! Okay, now that that's cleared up lets move on.

I just finished watching this movie and I have three words to describe the experience: Oh. My. God. Although this movie may not be suitable for some people who are sensitive to gore, people who enjoy movies like "Hostel" and "The Human Centipede" will also enjoy this movie. I know I said "enjoy" and I don't mean that in a sense where you would actually be smiling throughout the entire movie, gleaming with joy. When I say "enjoy" I mean it in the sense that you appreciate the directors work in order to present something disturbing in a cinematically masterful way.

As I said, this movie is brilliant. I realize that this movie is listed as a horror, and it is one indeed. However, it is not the traditional horror film. It's new, it's fresh. It's more of a horror movie in the way that you are actually horrified by the events taking place. If you're watching it in the right mood, you can find the dark comedy in it too. As for a drama, that genre shines through at times as well.

I don't usually like to talk about the storyline too much, although I do click the "spoiler alert" button just in case I describe the movie in a way that could ruin it for some people. I feel compelled to talk about the family though. So below I will give a brief description of each.

The mother: She's a wanna-be high class woman. She tries too hard to be too proper and she acts in a way that would make most people want to vomit. She was my least favorite character based on her disgustingly, terribly, proper attitude throughout the movie. She's the type of mom you wanna send away to summer camp year round.

The father: He's almost deadbeat...almost. He's a guy who you can tell is just putting up with the daily gruff he takes from his wife. He certainly doesn't wear the pants in the family and would probably rather spend the evening drinking a beer and watching a game than deal with his own family. He's desensitized in a way to what's going on.

The youngest daughter, Grace: She is absolutely adorable. She, unlike many people in this movie, is normal. She's a cute little girl in her teens who has Cystic Fibrosis and although she doesn't appear to be dying, to my surprise she was worse off than I thought and you'll probably think also.

Now, for my favorite, the older daughter Pauline: Oh where do I start? She, by most peoples accounts, is a effing lunatic. She's doesn't appear as outwardly crazy as she really is, and believe me although unkempt, she is truly more disturbed on a much deeper level than outward appearances will show. I will give her one single benefit of the doubt and that is that you can see her humanity shine through at times. But believe me, it's few and far between.

The storyline is fresh and not beat into the ground like most films nowadays, which was a plus. As previously stated, it is gory and "erotic" in a sense, not the kind of "erotic" that will turn you on...or at least it shouldn't. Definitely not a movie you wanna watch around kids by any means. It is disturbing. It is shocking. It has one of the best twist endings ever. It is skillfully acted. It is brilliant. It is a MUST watch. Ready...GO!
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8/10
Bizarrely Sexual, Disgustingly Dark
Foxbot25 October 2012
For what Excision is, and what it was going for, it is a perfect movie. It is not the norm, it is highly erotic, yet it is not good erotic, it is disgusting and upsetting. The movie flows well, is brilliantly directed and well acted. AnnaLynne McCord as Pauline and Traci Lords as Phyllis were amazing as daughter and mother.

This story of a troubled teenage girl is an interesting study and while at times it may not be realistically accurate, it is entertaining and pleasantly disturbing. I would not say the ending has a twist, however it is a bit of a surprise.

It is violent at times and should not be seen by anyone who is too young or feels they are not mentally able to watch it.

So, is Excision worth owning on Blu-ray? Well, I took a chance and blind bought it for $12.99 and I was not disappointed. It may not be a movie I watch over and over again, yet I like having it in my collection and when in the right mood I can see myself watching it many times in the future.
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7/10
Go hurt yourself!
thehellhole25 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is basically a portrait of the auto-aggressive tendencies of a young girl (Pauline) who goes overboard in the end. She is 18 years old, has unkempt looks, a very masculine body and rejects her womanhood. She dreams about lesbian sex connected with violence as a symbol of self-neglect and hidden homosexual desires. There are a couple of artistically styled dream sequences, where this situation is spelled out very violently (for example: she removes an unborn child from her womb and gives it to a devil-like figure, who puts it in an oven). So, if you have some insight into auto-aggressive behavior and are able to read the signs, it is quite easy to decode the symbolic level of Excision.

Yeah, and there are a few funny scenes to lighten up things.

So: 1) If you love and adore women and can fully understand the wondrous miracles of life (giving birth, for example) this movie is a very sad movie 2) If you are a naive, extremely sensitive or overly religious type this movie is a rather disturbing movie 3) If you think that this film is a freaky cool fun flick filled with bloody and gross scenes to cheer about, then go and hurt yourself!

I saw this movie at a festival and at the end the majority of the crowd cheered enthusiastically and applauded, so they might fall into category 3…

*** out of ***** stars.
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7/10
As Much As I Wanted to, I Could Not Pull Myself Away
gavin69423 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
A disturbed and delusional high school student with aspirations of a career in medicine (AnnaLynne McCord) goes to extremes to earn the approval of her controlling mother (Traci Lords).

Looking at the cover of this movie, you would get the impression they are trying to sell it by the cast. There are many names listed on the cover -- far more than necessary. And the fact that Ray Wise, Malcolm McDowell and Traci Lords all appear should be enough to make any genre fan curious. I can confidently say, however, that this film stands on its own without the familiar names (though Lords plays a fairly big role).

Everyone involved did a great job making McCord look socially awkward and physically appear to be the daughter of Hilary Swank and the Geico caveman. I have not seen "90210", but I am willing to bet she does not normally look like a stringy-haired, ape-armed freak. (Or maybe Beverly Hills is full of that... what do I know?)

In some ways, I feel the film takes a cue from Lucky McKee's "May". We definitely have the awkward girl who wants to be with the popular guy, and the attraction to medical / surgical things. But the films are so different, it would be unfair to say this film is not its own animal. The medical theme is taken much, much farther, and McCord/Pauline is far more wild and untamed than Angela Bettis.

The dream sequences seal this film's creepy factor. People in bandages crawling over each other? Surgery being done, body parts removed... the C-section birth of a human head. And just including a bloody tampon in the film made it nasty enough.

Is Pauline truly crazy or just acting out? That is a question that remains unclear through the bulk of the film, but by the end you may be able to decide one way or the other. The final scene is indeed a tragic one -- we see what happens when some feels love for another but does not have the ability to respond to it appropriately.
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7/10
Step into a demented sensual mind in Excision
rgblakey24 October 2012
There are movies that come along that are hard to figure out what category they belong in. Sometimes there is a blurred line in between thriller and horror, with these films usually coming off just so out there it either works really well or not at all. The trailers for Excision seem to be just this kind of film. With an interesting cast including AnnaLynne McCord (90210), Traci Lords (Zack and Miri Make a Porno), and Ariel Winter (Modern Family) attached to this story that seems way out there could this be one of the intriguing ones that delivers?

Excision follows a young woman with delusions of being a surgeon who has horrific dreams that she finds stimulating. While everyone around her including her family thinks she is just annoying and weird, most just put up with it, but her ultimate plan will shock everyone to the bitter end. This is a really strange awkward movie that works on almost every level. The performances are all strange on some level, with the exception of a few of the characters, which helps these select few to bring it all together. McCord is almost unrecognizable from her normal look 90210 fans are used to which adds to her bizarre performance. The story is simple on the surface, but as it progresses begins to deliver a very disturbing look into someone's mind. The dream sequences are graphic, gory, and sensual and deliver an unsettling look into the mind without ever really knowing what she is truly feeling. For most of the film despite the wacked out dream sequences the film doesn't really explain the direction it is really headed, but once it gets there it delivers an unexpected payoff.

This is an insane movie on every level that if you open your mind to the bigger picture is a sight to behold. While there are horrific moments, this is not a horror film, but plays stranger like Donnie Darko with a sexually charged bloody twist. If you are looking for something different that stands out then give this film a chance. You will either like it or you won't but either way you won't soon forget it.
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